Thursday, May 25, 2017

In short: I Frankenstein (2014)

I can certainly see the attraction of trying to adapt classic horror creatures like Frankenstein’s creation into the language of the modern superhero blockbuster. Unfortunately, to do this successfully, you might want to put some actual work in, or you’ll end up like this stinker directed and written by Stuart Beattie (who has done some perfectly okay scripts in his time), a film that is indifferently stitched together from clichés (probably brought to life by lightning) without any care or thought of how to make them hang together so that they amount to anything like an actual narrative. The pacing’s completely off, too, so I, Frankenstein jumps awkwardly through exposition spanning years of background, completely forgetting to provide the audience with any reason to care for the fate of the perpetually growly-voiced monster with its one facial expression portrayed by Aaron Eckhart’s body while his mind was elsewhere. I am, by the way, also not a fan of the contemporary habit of making a guy literally sewn together out from a bunch of random body parts not look ugly (see also Penny Dreadful which unlike this turkey makes up for this failing by being pretty damn great in most other respects). It doesn’t help the script’s case any that the whole set-up of a secret war between demons and gargoyles (don’t ask me, I didn’t write this nonsense) carries little dramatic weight.

Of course, this is a film that seems to think that dramatic weight comes automatically as long as the ultra-generic music swells whenever the audience is supposed to feel something; producing that weight through writing, acting, or really anything visible on screen doesn’t seem to touch the film’s mind.

However, even writing this bad could still hold up as the base of a big dumb action movie, if only its action sequences were any good. Yet neither the set pieces nor their execution are of any interest at all; the film also clearly does not have a single clue about how to use CGI properly – but then, why should it be better at that than at anything else it does?

The rest of the affair is dismal, disinterested and blank, with a bunch of theoretically capable actors phoning in their work so that there’s not even much of the joy of outrageous overacting to be had, production design and camera work that’s there and doesn’t look cheap but also doesn’t do anything interesting, and so on, and so forth.

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